South-East activists whip Army Chief for justifying massacre of unarmed Pro Biafra campaigners

Posted by News Express | 8 December 2016 | 2,506 times

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The Southeast Based Coalition of Human Rights Organizations (SBCHROs) has thrashed Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai, for justifying the massacre of unarmed Pro Biafra campaigners as recently confirmed by Amnesty International. The activists in a statement issued on Wednesday in Onitsha, said they had expected Buratai to show remorse, only for him to do otherwise during Tuesday’s visit to Owerri, the capital city of Imo State, for the opening ceremony of the 2016 Chief of Army Staff’s Conference.

Parts of the statement read: “Lt Gen Tukur Buratai had in apparently selective media chat during his courtesy call on Governor Rochas Okorocha, falsely and wickedly claimed that “soldiers massacred Pro Biafra Campaigners because they were violent and armed” and that “they (Pro Biafra activists) shot soldiers, policemen, DSS officers and other security operatives during their armed protest”. The same wicked and false claims were made by the COAS against the unarmed and innocent Shiite faithful as a justification for massacring over 800 of them in three days. In all these, the local media has been influenced and cowed into repeated use of the word “clash”, so as to create impression of non-State actor violence during protest or procession, which does not exist.”

SBCHROs insisted that “neither riot nor armed uprising was applicable” in both cases, adding: “Nonviolent protest and procession were strictly the case.”

According to the South East activists, “What the COAS and his co-travellers in the referenced heinous crimes did is locally, regionally and internationally reprehensible and abominable. Even in war situation, the use of arms by State actors and their enemies is highly regulated under the Geneva Conventions or Laws of War of 1949 and their three Protocols. Killing of non-combatants and destruction of their homes, properties and sacred places of worship in war situation are totally forbidden; not to talk of a massacre of such magnitude in a non-war situation.

“COAS Tukur Yusuf Buratai and his killer-troops abominably stormed a Church where unarmed citizens were praying in the dead of the night through a night vigil and opened fire on them; killing scores of them and took their corpses away after wounding scores of others; yet he remorseless referred and justified the massacred citizens as “armed and violent”.

“As if that was not enough, his army under his seal and firm directive also stormed the premises of well fenced National High School in Aba in a broad day light; where over one hundred unarmed and defenceless citizens were clapping and singing; opened fire on them, killing over 30 of them and wounded over 40; and took most of their corpses away till date. Few days later, 13 of them were found dumped in a Burrow Pit, with marks showing that they were shackled, manacled, shot and killed.

“On 17th of December 2015, the COAS’s killer soldiers stationed at the ailing Niger Bridge sighted a group of jubilant citizens and opened fire on them; killing over 10; after which most of their corpses were taken away. Three of them were later dumped at the Onitsha General Hospital with a policing cover from the Onitsha Central Police Station. The jubilant citizens were signing and clapping over the court-ordered unconditional release of Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, on account of which they were sighted and shot dead. Despite all these, the COAS has remained adamant and remorseless, cooking up all kinds of lies against the dead, so as to desperately escape culpability.

“The truth which the Army Chief is hiding from the generality of Nigerians is that there exists an operational death code adopted by the Army where Pro Biafra Activists are pencilled down for mass murder and considered more “death-value” than Boko Haram and Fulani terrorists. In the recent tour of Northeast by the Army Chief with selected journalists, this was also reportedly disclosed.

“It is also recalled that we had in November 2015 warned the COAS and his main partner-in-crime, former IGP Solomon Arase of dire consequences of their issuance of lethal warning to unarmed and defenceless Pro Biafra activists. We had then warned them of unmitigated consequences of their planned action as such would hunt and haunt them for the rest of their lives.

“Today, former IGP Solomon Arase has virtually disappeared into self exile, thinking that his atrocious page would one day be forgotten in the human rights circles; and the COAS is here; emptying all the battalions of the Nigerian Army to protect him during his visit to the Southeast. He should be lest assured that the People of the Southeast that he massacred their prime bread winners for no just cause are not cannibals and butchers gunning for his head under unorthodox circumstances but he must get it into his head that there is no hiding place for perpetrators of regime atrocities and crimes against humanity. At the appointed time, he will be made to face justice both locally and internationally.

“Also what is left of his career in the Nigerian Army will soon end and chicken will return home to roost. We will ensure through legitimate and lawful means that he spends his post service career running from pillar to pole for enmeshing himself in regime atrocities of unpardonable and earth-shaking proportions. His post service career will be so darkened that only the likes of clan warlords in Somalia and Afghanistan will require his consultancy services.

“COAS Tukur Buratai and designated lieutenants and former IGP Solomon Arase must be held to account for the butchering of over 250 unarmed and innocent citizens and attempted murder of over 300 others. Efforts by Igbo sons and daughters in Diaspora made so far to bring Lt Gen Tukur Buratai, former IGP Solomon Arase and other regime atrocities’ committers to account for their crimes are very commendable.

“We urge other Igbo sons and daughters in other parts of the world particularly in Senegal, Botswana, South Africa, North and South America, Europe and Oceania to explore fully existing judicial and diplomatic remedies available in their countries of residency for the purposes of punitive and compensatory justices against the named atrocious State agents irrespective of how short or long it takes!”

Source: News Express

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